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December 2006

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Dec. 23rd, 2006

ashcan

sycamore style. more sicker than yours.

Mike's garage. I was playing with a switchblade, whipping it out and back for practice, when I was distracted by a news report on the television. It was the voice that caught my attention; that harsh tone of female anchors about to declare some horror, some pressing tragedy, in their regular way, without the fear or panic (were it happening live), but with a slight disgust--alas, when I turned to look the voice had withdrawn, in favor of startling images. These consisted of two critically wounded Long Beach police (shot at close range), a desperate-looking convict (armed), and a police chief swearing justice, vengeance, bloodshed, before a sea of flickering cameras! Only the chief appeared in person, his one hand gripping the podium, the other waving violently; the others were seen next to him via blown-up portraits on easels. The suspect's picture, a mug shot, was vile like any other, perhaps taken in a sewer. The policemen, on the other hand, were posed smiling in front of their cars and boats, on driveways, in public parks, and they were shown to have real loving families, whereas it might be supposed that the suspect was hatched from a reptile egg. I wasn't sure what disturbed me the most, whether it was the pathetic expression on the suspect's face, a mix of dumb surprise and weariness, or the dire assurances made by the chief who furiously marked him for death with angry gestures before the cheery portraits of his fallen men. Whatever it was, it caused me to mishandle the knife, an instant before it closed, and right where it would scissor shut--my fingertip just lingered!--and the edges seized on it, effectively cutting a slice, a cheek, the topmost prints clean off! I gasped, no, I grasped what happened in cartoon succession: the accident, the keen sting, the surprise severance, the snowy disbelief, the wound looking white, bloodless, and in that moment I imagined the slow close of a guillotine, pictured it across the centuries, repeating itself to this minor degree, like a bastard aftershock or a broken-off sliver of a bygone symbol. It was steel rudely separating flesh, like razors into cuticles, like heads falling into baskets. Yes! My next thought was to look for the felled skin on the floor for I half expected to find it writhing about, indignant, annoyed by the sudden dismissal. I was beset by thoughts and feelings of utter loss--I felt remorseful about it! I examined the knife and there on the serrated part at the base was the strip of flesh looking already yellow and dispossessed. Forsaken piece of meat! I tossed it aside. Quickly then the need to seal the wound, the unsettling fear of gangrene. The gash began to throb and I ran home to cure and bandage it. Now I'm typing awkwardly with the injured finger useless about and my middle finger as a substitute. Considering all of these flighty mishaps lately, like losing my wallet, a Christmas present, receipts, phone numbers, etc., I wondered how the weeks following my monumental vow of sobriety could have possibly given rise to these thoughtless incidents. No smoke, no drink practically, no drunkenness at all, and yet these spurts of catatonia!

David and I were walking down 28th Street some chilly evening and we were talking about a very fantastic maneuver that we had recently seen in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. It's the part where the huge trolls charged the main gate and burst into the white city, overwhelming the feeble human defense, clearing them out like so many dust bunnies, using enormous clubs. The human soldiers were understandably shaken and scared out of their wits, taking in account the tens of thousands bloodthirsty Orcs hankering outside and the Nazgûl's flying reptiles snatching them up at their leisure and dropping them from outrageous altitudes. They had no champions to match the trolls in strength or size. Their only champion was a frazzled old man on a horse, a wizard, to be specific, wearing a perfectly white ensemble, and looking important enough to bark orders at everyone--this being the extent of his efforts. Right. Next thing you knew, this white wizard, looking sleepless, stressed, perhaps finally sensing the potent threat, decided to charge the hulking trolls atop his white horse. He twirled his white staff like a baton, pivoted away at the last moment, and took a long distance swing at the nearest troll with his sword. It was a minor thrust, at the utmost distracted. He could have been playing croquet, after a spot of tea, because the carrying out was so disturbingly casual, given the situation. It seemed to be an afterthought, this funny business of slaying trolls. And nearby, men with cracked armour found themselves dying from fits of shock and the last sight that flashed before them was a short and meager display, a muted, almost secret, hurrah. We looked at the attack from all sides and, after much deliberation, we came to the conclusion that the sword barely reached, barely brushed the monster's throat. The troll might have felt no more than a slight breeze, and yet, without delay, it slammed into the ground like a sack of potatoes.

It's magic. It's murder! We're much impressed. We watch it again. Slow motion this time. Ha! We can't believe it. We're discussing it later while walking down the street. We feel the action in our guts as if we were really there, bearing witness to that insane, finishing blow, which was by all accounts a close shave. Usually, when someone talks about a close shave, they begin by describing a certain danger, how it arose and became imminent, how they were on the verge of strife, when such and such happened, when someone or something interfered, and they managed to evade the threat, thus enabling them to recount, with customary embellishments, how they were almost had. The sample scare is the worst of it, and it's always amusing later on to recall exceedingly anxious times. But, how does a close shave come to mean the flipping off of an unstoppable light switch? Imagine the troll's final mongoloid thoughts brashly penetrated by the holiest of steel: SMASH! Archer. SMASH! Pawn. SMASH! Squire. SMASH! Wha--? Whiteness. Foolish old man. SMA--! Ohhhhhh, wha-wha--? My word! I say, I was very nearly hit--was I--who does he think he-- Dead! Not just dead, stiff, completely stiff. Gandalf pulls the rug out from under his monstrous soul. You wonder, did he really have to prep his swing like that? Could a really mean look have sufficed? Was it showmanship, a game of style? Whatever it was, our collective guts took a quick plummet then perked all the way up, up, up--how it raised our morale! We who were crouching in a stone doorway, launching our futile hail of arrows, waiting to die like the dozens before us. Why couldn't the wizard have blessed our damned arrows?? If this is some insane holy war, with magic, magic, for God's sake, why, we want to be magic ourselves! Let's be generous with the magic!

We hit the street. We rehearse the scene, over and over, sustaining the action alive. David's account is chock-full of cusses, in praise of that juggernaut goodness, the kind of righteousness that sidesteps all compromise and simply opts to wipe you out, cold-blooded, like Matthew 11:12. He affects a stance of sympathy for the troll and wonders if, prior to dying, the dim crony was able to realize that bitter truth, that ray of light that falls so heavy on the brows of henchmen: Mongo only pawn in game of life. I tell it as I have written it above, with all the same pizazz. It's familiar company like David's that allows for otherwise private indulgences. People compose their little scenes like puppet shows. Life, a mockery. We make sure we both saw what we saw, point by point, and we invoke the images again and again, like someone recycling the same breath in and out of a paper bag, until the poor alveoli whither like raisins, and the brain begins to borrow from another party. The result is a funny lightheadedness that hovers about us like a rosy nimbus. Soon afterward we're talking of something else, it's only the span of a few minutes, but that nimbus floats on ...

Like I said, my version was a faithful redaction. There is a sentence above where I hang on the color white, i.e. the white wizard, white horse, white staff, and this profusion of white served to remind David of a funny part in an essay. It was written by Chinua Achebe, the subject being Conrad's Heart of Darkness. In this essay, Achebe condemns HoD for its garish brand of racism, claiming that it goes above and beyond the general temperament of its time. If you'll remember, Conrad has the Africans speak only twice in the story, and these are both instances of questionable eloquence: once to express their most average wont to eat their unseen enemies (cannibals, they!), and the other is to utter the famous announcement: Mistah Kurtz--he dead. According to Achebe, Conrad's literary seeds should not be sown into American schools, as HoD is often required reading, for these could flower with tints of prejudice and remain preserved this way for future generations. As soon as I got home, I read the essay and had myself some laughs indeed. Here's the portion that David was talking about:
But even after due allowances have been made for all the influences of contemporary prejudice on his sensibility there remains still in Conrad's attitude a residue of antipathy to black people which his peculiar psychology alone can explain. His own account of his first encounter with a black man is very revealing:

A certain enormous buck nigger encountered in Haiti fixed my conception of blind, furious, unreasoning rage, as manifested in the human animal to the end of my days. Of the nigger I used to dream for years afterwards.

Certainly Conrad had a problem with niggers. His inordinate love of that word itself should be of interest to psychoanalysts. Sometimes his fixation on blackness is equally interesting as when he gives us this brief description:

A black figure stood up, strode on long black legs, waving long black arms ...

as though we might expect a black figure striding along on black legs to wave white arms! But so unrelenting is Conrad's obsession.

David and I resume our walk. We are headed to the nearest burger stand, Tams #8, which is a long block away, that is, several hundred yards. We are walking perfectly side by side and the length of our steps are curiously in synch. I believe that one of us notices this peculiar detail and attempts to walk a little faster ahead. In situations like these, it is hard to tell the instigator because we know each other's responses so well it borders on telepathy. The initiative or what have you flows into the both of us simultaneously. The smallest difference in our strides is compensated instantly. Pretty soon we are power-walking, exaggerated arm swinging and all. Awkwardly enough, we are looking straight into each other's eyes, all the while keeping this bizarre pace, and people idling in their front yards are stopping to see what's come over us. It has all the makings of violence about to erupt, so their interests are quickly piqued. Morituri te salutant! They sense a certain fervor teasing a naked vent. Our eyes trace an indiscernible music, a rabid drum, in the air between us. We're both deeply entranced, when I blurt Fuck it! and lunge forward, breaking into a frantic sprint! David's already madly dashing! His knees are pumping just as high, his breaths are glued to mine, our lungs are copycats! It's redundant! It's fast! No one's gaining! It's an equal match--we're superimposed! Dogs add their roars to the bargain and the streets whir by on both sides like a reeling cartoon. We take no heed, no obstacles, the ground is flat, level, gotten over pronto. But--hey!--the burger stand is a spec long gone, it's way behind, we pass it! The second I make this realization, although I don't hesitate at all physically, David acquires a burst of speed and manages several moving feet ahead of me. The trance broken, he stops cold. I brake directly. Our faces are heated. We greet the stars with quiet gasps. There is a sense of loss, a distinct heavy feeling. Gravity asserts itself once more. By way of prompt account, David says:

--Whatever it was we were doing, I won, I think.
--The goal was Tams #8. We're not at Tams #8. Something happened alright. What was going through your head?
--When? While we were running?
--Yeah.
--Well, I imagined that I was being chased.
--What?
--Yeah, in the beginning, it was dogs. But you kept going faster, so I thought I better think about cops chasing me instead. More consequence that way. You can lose a dog at the first fence. Cops are tricky.
--You were thinking about all that?
--Not really. Not the difference. Not like I'm saying it. I think in images, I guess. And then I place myself inside them. Why, what were you thinking of?
--I was thinking about ... nothing, nothing at all! I was just running. I think you cheated.
--Cheated ...? How?
--Using your imagination.
--Bullshit!
--No, listen. I don't think people are supposed to think when they're running. Sprinting, anyway, not like this, and with a destination in mind. The most they probably get to think is I'm running! I'm running! like a tape in fast forward, with the words so blurred together in sequence as to make it non-thought, a command speeding up and down your spine. Don't you think this kind of race demands such a rule?
--No. I don't think that at all.
--You'd rather not think it, you mean!
--Right. It sounds like sense. You really know the sound of sense, so that I don't know whether you're making it or just sounding it, but I really don't think it. I'm not thinking it right now and I'll probably forget it later. I'm thinking you're trying to cheat me somehow. But I'll agree that you won the race, I guess, since I don't feel like much of a winner. There aren't any prizes, anyway.
--No, there aren't any prizes, not now. But what if about a week from now or months later, you experience an unexplained moment of giddiness, of peace? You think it's a song you're listening to or a fine piece of whatever, but it's not that simple. What about heaven? Isn't that the ultimate, ineffable prize? You are in the process of getting to it, always. You can't even understand it, trapped in your body as you are. I'm talking about accessories like that, in heaven, plush items, harps and big-eyed virgins. These must be obtained in subtle ways, in the most obscure situations, and you never really know what you stand to gain or lose at any event.



Oscar Gabriel Gallegos (¿Quién demonios fue?), that poor bastard who shot the Long Beach officers, was killed exactly five days after this post, in a final showdown. Thinking about his haggard, chubby face, I sought to express him as having the stale look of someone perpetually tired, a cruel but lazy soul given a rare start. However, he proved to be quite fiesty, in the end. Oscar, I hardly knew ye.

Oct. 7th, 2006

ashcan

the streets



The streets of Los Angeles are utterly my entrails. Its countless gutters are juicy registries that merge with my intestines. I only truly know things when I feel them here, the way you know a kiss or smell, my innards tell me so, with whispers of joy and nausea. Los Angeles, my exo-skeleton, my outer spleen. Its pavements risen up, shattered here and there, with spots repaired, sloping like kelloid scars, caterpillars of tar on asphalt and gravel, pushed up from underground by the madcap feet and elbows of a subterranean life, a Pentecostal light. For strangers, the appeal is cosmetic. To them, the surface is something like a beauty mask gone dry, crumbling and cracked, the wake of bygone, fabulous years, but I'm too familiar to notice it. It is the face of a whore I've long forgiven. Her pink tongue emerges from a manhole and whips around full circle, lapping up the spirit gum. They're disappointed, they look away, they feel serious regret about the real terrain, but her tongue smooths it over like a calm evening tide. She can taste it, all of it, their expectations, the naysaying, the actual grime, it's tasty! When I take a deep breath of downtown air, my diaphragm expands with minty freshness, a brand new song is leaven, and dozens of crannies bulge forth with roots and greeny undergrowth, suddenly alive with butterflies, inside and outside. Some California sun urges them upward with promises obscure and widespread. A long line of skinny palm trees wags fiercely in the wind, thrashing high and low, like savage catapults, nearly snapping at the neck, and if you look closely, I am always in the crowd of it, swinging, suspended, now spinning, a hammock between them!

Drafts course the Chinese tunnels beneath Olvera Street like far-flung gasps, and here below the walls are painted burgundy, but none of these lead to the Reptile Kingdom. A bronze Beethoven, preoccupied in Pershing Square, peers at pigeons with his thunderstorm eyebrows and in his metal skull reverberates the sound of anvils. Further south, on Figueroa Street, the prostitutes in furs and little else slip inside of cars, and some are police officers, but all wear masks this evening. There are armies of middle-aged widows who search and pillage the Flower District mornings and every Thursday a cemetery groundsman disposes of their efforts, renewing their assignments. And children cannot fathom the hobos that tremble on stone benches or their raving monologues in cardboard shelters, so they laugh and guess each others' futures. But there's a lone priest giving out single dollars like a man who would chisel Everest with a breviary. Galactic jazz and fried chicken at Leimert Park, what used to be on Main Street, what used to blow in the East, now poltergeists. At La Brea, for your benefit, the woolly mammoths are forever drowning in a tar pit and every few minutes one of them struggles for survival. At the wind-swept Green Line station, in the middle of opposing freeways, two lovers kiss in a nook between directories, a mirage encased in steel, eliciting sighs and flying horns. A new Catholic church, St. Patrick's, on Central Avenue, dwarfs the new Islamic Center across the street, not to mention the size of its fence. There are Black activists, wearing white camouflage and berets on a corner in Crenshaw, with posters of men hanging from trees, and one of these bears the title Mexicans were lynched, too! Ex-Alpha Beta, ex-Ralphs, ex-Vons, post-1993-riots-Jons Market now lies in ruins, ruins, a dirt lot for traveling carnivals! Streets filled with upheaval, graffiti, lies, music, murder, all qualities cradled in my inner most self, sprinkled with bones, peels, seeds, wax cups, straw, blown in from the Farmer's Market downtown--my childhood bazaar. How can I explain?

I feel very strongly that there is something in Los Angeles that I like. I like it so much that I don't like it when other people like it. It is a love like that, jealous. A large part of me is headquartered here. I understand how ghosts can get stuck to a place, even though it's very dreadful, even if it changes beyond recognition over time. If I leave this place, I will start to eat less and less, the longer I'm away, and perhaps I'll eventually starve. I've never stuck around anywhere long enough to find out. It's not that other cities aren't lovely, and it has nothing to do with the quality of food, nor any leeriness versus unfamiliar dishes. I'll try anything new and odds are I'll like it. I have learned to negate my eyes, my nose, several of my senses, actually, so that unfamiliar and outlandish-looking food won't revile me at all, as long as others are eating it with confidence. My stomach is no stranger to hunger, having survived a few childish fasts and vegetarianism. It's more than happy to identify new sustenance. For lunch today, I had some raw oysters and pomegranate, dousing both with Tapatío, lemon, and salt. I washed that down with mango Snapple and a vitamin supplement. My co-workers watched me with disgust bordering on horror and only one showed a hint of curiosity. So, in the worst case, the food will come delicious and well-prepared, as far as I can tell, and I will be nicely accommodated in a new surrounding; nonetheless I will feel discomfort in the moments before I gorge myself. I can only describe this feeling as imminentness, the feeling before a calamity, when you augur that wrong place/time falling piano. You tingle with subtle warnings, but disaster never strikes, more so it phases in and out, behind the scenes. There is a changing of the guard, but there is no perceptible harm, only the obvious change that took place. In a sense, the food has the quality of being stale, it tastes stale while being very fresh, and it's forgettable the moment it's arrived, like you've already half-eaten it and lost interest. The timing of the food is wrong. The Frenchman Marcel Proust once wrote that when we miss a certain place we are really missing the moments we have spent in it and not the place itself. The place merely serves as a receptacle. The people, objects, and events of bygone times, the things that inspire the sensation of longing, cease to be qualities of the place, for it is constantly changing, in structure and attitude, but we are comforted by a souvenir environment, which evokes the most familiarity. The Los Angeles that courses inside me is long gone, already expired, but I'm perpetually linked to its old ghostly framework. The city has become an ectoplasmic condiment for my senses. In essence, I'm like a Cajun that prefers his meals to be dripping with hot sauce. Anything else would be too bland. My life requires a dose of Angelean ghost.

Ironically, if someone were to mention plans of visiting California, I would deny Los Angeles to the point of treason. I'll make an urgent case against it, in favor of San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Cruz, Napa Valley--cities I might have been to only once and that are not even worth the fuss--anywhere but here. I will drum up doubts and dismiss any kind expectations on grounds of naiveté. I will even have the audacity to complain about the weather, such as The heat is unbearable! Scoff at this, think about the severity of other summers, but keep in mind that Los Angeles is spoiled year round with pleasant weather, so we are not apt to suffer sustained climactic annoyances. We have this luxury called a marine layer. Winds off the coast are cool and continuous. Oppressive weather comes and goes in a flash. When it lingers on, there's no justice to it. One hundred degrees in the winter is a joke between the deities. And so we smolder and torture ourselves with the foolish hope that the insolent weather will move along as quickly as it came, whereas residents from cities like Las Vegas are already resigned to the daily inferno. When it's not scorching, it's London skies with smoggy brown halos, and the streets stay empty, except for the steady movements of tourists and transients. When it's crowded with Angelenos, it's usually in protest or a ruse of some sort. Angelenos are always driving around and are therefore invisible. I suppose people drive as much so they won't have to come to grips with the flat expanse of the city itself. Popular locations are set dreadfully apart and its citizens are anxious to arrive at specified times, to make grand entrances. They hate it here. They would prefer a city built upward, where the action is centralized and not on the fringes. I have a car, a fast one, but I prefer not to drive. I take what Argentines call el colectivo, the bus. The soles of my shoes go bald long before I ever scuff the tops of them. I walk the streets, I trample about them. I am more than acquainted. The streets wind in and out of me in ways no map can ascertain.

Of course, I will only resort to negative remarks because I feel that others don't have a right to like Los Angeles. Even so, what appeals to visitors is never what appeals to me. The idea of someone staring in wonderment at the Hollywood sign or a likewise attraction is altogether depressing. I remember the smattering of buildings replaced by the Staples Center and how the new arena stood in skeletal form. Just past it, there's the orchestra murals, with violinist Ralph Morrison peering into every northbound car. I remember the halls of a library that burned down, which I wandered as a toddler, clutching a Ninja Turtle comic. I subsist on these sights and memories. These are the freedoms granted me with every step. I stand in the middle of downtown and I realize that I'm thirty to forty minutes away--thinking of time as space and proceeding to fork it--from the susurrant Pacific coast, the sometimes purple mountains, and the horizontal desert.

Jun. 21st, 2006

ashcan

topical

We can accept the idea of a deficient divinity, a divinity that would be forced to create the world out of poor materials and, thinking in this way, we would eventually arrive at Bernard Shaw, who said: God is in the making. That is to say, God is not something that belongs to the past and God is possibly not something that pertains to the present in Eternity. God can be something that pertains to the future, and if we are just, if we forgive our enemies, also if we are intelligent--if we are lucid--we would be helping to create God.

Nazism was invented by Carlyle, but H.G. Wells said that Hitler had taken the theory of a chosen race from the Jews, who also believed themselves to be a chosen race, and that everything Hitler said could be found in the Old Testament, except that he applied it to a distinct nation. Of course, Hitler was murderous to an exaggerated degree... kind of like God herself in Deuteronomy.

I believe that women think too much of the world, that they grant it too much import, including every object and themselves, right? And circumstances, too. Especially, circumstances. They judge everything one by one, and besides that, they're afraid of playing a bad role, or they see themselves as actors, right? The whole world is watching them and of course admiring them. I have known women that are very intelligent but completely incapable of philosophizing. One of the most intelligent women I have ever known was a fellow student; she studied literature at about the same time as me; also, like myself, she knew how to delight herself with literature and poetry outside of pedantry and scholastic requirements; however, when I asked her to read the dialogues of Berkeley, just three dialogues, she couldn't make anything out of them. Then, I loaned her a book by William James, a few philosophical exercises, and even though she was a very intelligent young woman, she couldn't hack it. She simply couldn't see why people would engross themselves with matters that to her seemed very simple. So I told her: Right, but are you sure that time is simple? Are you sure that space is simple? Are you sure that the conscious is simple?--Yes, she said. Well, okay, can you define those concepts? She responded: No, I don't think I can, but it doesn't bother me in the slightest. That, I suppose, is what any woman would respond, right?

Jonathan Swift was an odd case. He was such an original writer. How strange then his satire against science. Because, today, if anyone writes against science, it has to do with deeming it a modern evil. Detractors see it as a powerful enemy. But he was a very intelligent man, a genius, and despite that he thought science was futile. I mean, he laughed at scientists, not because he considered them a threat, but because he seemed to see them as idiots that were wasting their time ... Don't you think that's odd? Despite being a very intelligent man, he had committed this error. He thought that all those who worked in laboratories were simpletons.

Robert Louis Stevenson died while making a salad. He had never eaten a salad. In fact, he hated salads. When someone told this to G.K. Chesterton, he said something to this effect: Now I can believe that Stevenson has died. He has always been a man committed to the unexpected ...

Aside from being a first-rate writer of mysteries, Chesterton was a clever Catholic apologist. Unfortunately, like all writers who profess a credo, he is judged by it. He is also disapproved or acclaimed by it. The intelligence with which he argued his religious position must have been intimidating for his opponents and alienating for some of his serious readers. Strong beliefs can make a nice man seem disagreeable and nasty. Worst of all, they may invalidate him. He became the butt of many fat jokes. Who can forget Wodehouse's irreverent nod?

... the drowsy stillness of the summer afternoon was shattered by what sounded to his strained senses like G.K. Chesterton falling on a sheet of tin.


Now, he wasn't nearly as fat as President Taft [tale of a tub], but his proportions were such that he can be easily spotted as a character in Neil Gaiman's graphic novel, The Sandman. There he comes alive as a compassionate, jolly Englishman, with trusty cape and sword stick, the personification of a living, paradisaical world named Fiddler's Green, a fecund planet with diverse life which becomes a man for the purpose of social interaction. His high standard of imagination and creativity, evident in his wondrous works, combined with his lampoonish girth, would demand no less a tribute. This character is not made unappealing by Chesterton's brand of consistent preachiness, calculated wit or theory. On the contrary, the reader is invited to imagine his gallantry, his gentleness, the embodiment of his beliefs in practice. Chesterton died in 1936 but his abstract goodness would cruise forth unabated to 1986, splashing in color. Imagine Chesterton revived in the here and now, in full 300+lb glory, those eyes of his perusing words once more, on the page where he was so at home, and finding the essence of his virtues in a curious, fantasy picture book! Who could predict this redemption, more human than artistic? A ripple of our own, a small means for immortality. No essay can revive one's moral character quite like a fellow artist's simulacrum, done in good faith. I have felt great sympathy for this echo of his, this likeness that adds a vivid dimension to the man behind the letters. For when it comes to genius, the reader is spared the living and breathing writer, the writer becomes the text, a stream of words without the flesh in telepathic congress. The reader assumes all kinds of falsities about the person behind it but truth and personality find a way. You inspire joy in others and thereby leave a seed that grows into the best of you. He was a writer of this germinal sort, the portrait of a gentleman--albeit an enlarged one. I will end this reflection with an anecdote. Once, it was said that Chesterton was sitting in a train, reading a daily, when a group of passengers entered his car. It's important that you imagine him perfectly ensconced, practically merged with his seat, because without the slightest hesitation, he rose up from it--a formidable task indeed--so that he might offer his place to three ladies. Of course, this is much more than can be expected out of his contemporaries, men like Everett True.

May. 16th, 2006

ashcan

other people you meet

I met a girl recently. She is beautiful in that in-your-face way and also somewhat empty, which is opportune for me, since I am both ugly and fulfilling. We have plenty sex and a few things else. She uses me, really. I gaze into her eyes. I say funny things from time to time. She says, you think you're so smart. I say, I try not to think about it. Look at me! I'm talking about scary black caimans, a short film by Louis Malle, underground tunnels, etc., etc., sit back, don't speak, watch as I attribute my most wonderful thoughts to you! "Surely, you must have noticed ... " But not always, not restrictively, some nicely crafted dialogue! I perform this exchange unconsciously, this elliptical etcetera to a lengthy T. I generate her remarks quite fittingly. It's never dull with me at the helm! I steer a spinning, flying machine, and it's all helicopter without the propeller. We make the sort of time together that seems filled with joys and years, and so in a few days time we conclude that we have been long enough alone. I am thus lured to where she coexists with others, none that I bargained for, and she leaves me in a room with some people, her people. These are people that I would probably never willingly approach on my own, neither for money nor ... unarmed. Just kidding. I'm liable to approach anyone. Besides, they are just some guys, not scary in a threatening way, but almost to that frightening point of unappealing. They are so immersed in their own habits that, at first sight, it would be foolish to think that they would ever alter their roughly honed selves for the sake of being social, not for the slightest formality; they acknowledge no intrusion. She goes off for a time with a group of girls that I suppose to be the lovers of these guys who, with the offer of a stiff chair, have become my sudden company. Hopefully, I think to myself, she will talk about what a catch I am, how worthy a companion, that is, to counter the now predictable accusations of my being too strange, too confident, thereby full of myself, or unattractive. How did I sneak into their circle? I tend to inspire those sorts of remarks in friends of friends. Women, right? Women! Where would I be without friends of friends?? Well, I shouldn't really condemn these girls as mere accessories of the guys with whom I've been abandoned, because they might have the good fortune of being single or sisters or casual friends, but --in coarse observation-- I notice that each of these women is as attractive as mine, the one I came with, not more, but in the same way, and I should say, they appear prone to having the same bad taste in men, us sitting there, and for an avalanche of seconds, I feel that I am truly one with the rest of them, no different, and that we are all the same kind of sucker for a similar look. It occurs to me suddenly that beautiful women are brash equalizers and what exactly am I doing in this waiting room, this GAS CHAMBER?? Anyway, I try my best to belong, if only for a half hour, God willing, I pray for brevity and prompt release. I worry about it being too long, so time takes the form of a mustard gas, my faith decreasing exponentially (x*10-99). I am consumed by this quick plunging formula, that sharp superscript of hopelessness. These men are comfortable, they already belong here, they scratch themselves and breathe freely like they belong, and any of their words, should they relinquish speech, will linger and thrive just fine in this, their space, and more than survive; their words ease straight into some pampered habitat. My words don't stand a chance, so I resort to speaking as they do, speaking words, yes, but words that belong to their space, words from my mouth to a solid spittoon.

I talk without much purpose, but I fill the air as artists feel compelled to do. I note peculiarities in them to pass the time. They light each others' cigarettes. Their exchange of movements is singular. There are no words between what occurs. One slips a cigarette out of the box, another retrieves a spark from his pocket, and the cigarette is lit, the smoke is inhaled, in the same brief second, with no remarkable awkwardness or hesitation. I'm accustomed to seeing at least a minor pause of miscontrol, an errant look, some failed dexterity. There is none. I witness a second act of smooth operation. The burly type --it's unnecessary that we consider him a brute-- asks the other for a piece of gum, not a stick of gum, but those small white pills you punch out of plastic and foil. This movement is quicker than the one before and far more personal. A pair of pinched fingers lays the gum directly on the other's tongue, and if I'm not mistaken, there is enough extra contact to make this gift unsanitary. What's worse, the happy tongue grotesquely curls, from the tip backward, in a slow curve, to receive the gum, which it hugs triumphantly, before the pair disappear into the actively chewing mouth. Of course, it wasn't a slow curve, but there is an abolishment of time in the feeling of surprise or nausea.

They debate about which is harder, the skulls of men or that of a particular dog. They talk about their fish. Apparently, they own a species of fighting fish--or perhaps they train normal fish for combat. They talk about staring at the respective tanks for hours, waiting for the business, the thin ribbons of red, the shredded fins. One becomes annoyed that the other wants to set up a match too soon. His fish are not yet ready, they are still too small. The challenger knows this, ignores this particular, and repeats a series of offers and compromises. He looks at me as if to extract my opinion. His eyes are filled with persuasion and a faint interest in blood.

Apr. 30th, 2006

ashcan

memory is Hell (a museum)

Someone asked me if I joined in the Hispanic-American Immigration walk-outs/marches of the past few weeks, being that I'm Mexican and darkly so. Did I feel any obligation to attend? Nope, not at all, I'm no copper ingot. I was there at the very first rally downtown, not totally, I was merely there. I woke up that morning in a mood to go swimming, it was very hot, but I wound up doing quite the opposite or perhaps the same, that is, milling around. For days, there was a peculiar message being circulated among my countrymen, an eager plot to suffocate a street with bodies--a street I'm rather fond of seeing--and although some of the sweatier bodies I can do without, I dressed mine up in white and answered the call. As a whole, it reminded me of recess in the second grade, some Halloween event with a specific theme: white zombies or Greek tunics. In the end, when the streets were scarce of undergrowth, when the build-up of Brown had trickled down into its operative silence, I felt so full of sweets and, as I do at the severance of any warm embrace, a little childish and alone. I long for those soft touches that we lose without a sound. I want to wire my guts with ringing bells.

My journal gives the impression that I don't much care about politics or world affairs. You can go ahead and accuse me of thinking like a dinosaur, you're quite right. I think about the future and past with alarming consequence, but I'm too involved in the present to perceive it rationally enough. See, when a writer writes a good story, I mean, a story that's mostly free of her own egotistical intrusion, she originates a beginning and an end, and then it's easy for her to exert a middle. The middle is mostly composed of ample pairings, subtle contrasts that mimic right/wrong, fun/boring, pain/pleasure, man/woman, etc. in object and action. A writer who is constantly thinking about writing has better commerce with memories and hopes, she will sally forward and hook into as many variable futures as possible, in effect her present state is the nexus of a taut web, never static, always vibrant, yet adhering to timeless themes. Working with the present is oppressive, bothersome. Or maybe I'm just incapable of setting forth opinions on subjects which need be informed via up-to-the-minute news and reports. For example, I've never felt the slightest urge to reveal my thoughts on the war. Most of the time, my imagination conspires with my memory and--in cahoots--both get the better of my passion, such that I can't get down to brass tacks, gentlemen. Intelligence is a tool of the will. I'll say one thing though: people were sure waving a lot of American flags. The streets were absolutely crowded with American flags! I had this funny thought that these were probably the same flags that lay stored and unused in people's closets and bins since after 9/11, the last real squeal of patriotism. It's nice to see the upheaval of forgotten playthings. I wonder when I'll see some Lakers flags again, flapping by on a car window. Not too long ago, this was a city of champions.

There's something funny about getting spam from "Single Blacks" claiming to be able to find my soulmate.

I had a dream where I was wandering around a museum with windows in the style of trompe l'oiel. Well, you wouldn't know it was a museum, because the windows looked real enough, and there weren't any security guards or signage or soft benches (or people!), and you'd think it was perhaps a hospital or another seemingly helpful, strikingly empty building, with a maze of hallways, doorways with no doors, and a surplus of painted windows, arranged in such a manner that resembled exhibits or displays, and these were the sole objects that could draw a passerby's attention. In dreams, you tend to know things automatically, it's disconcerting, you're always somehow privy to terrifying categorical information. I knew that there was no use fleeing down the halls, screaming for help, because, for starters, you can only help yourself in dreams, and secondly, I was well aware that such an action would only succeed in thrilling the halls. In other words, I felt that the halls would experience a perverse joy in my panic, and they would shudder blissfully as they unravelled in senseless paths before me. I decided that it was better for me to take on an exaggerated, stately posture, a very boring one, and waddle around like an admirer of fine crystal. This would stall the storyline, which was edging towards a nightmare. What follows gets confusing or contaminated, and if you read as much as I do, you can blame the intrusion of books for the derivative tricklings that arrive to take center stage. Each faux window opened into a greeny quadrangle, a space which seemed uniform in appearance, going from window to window, but a troubling difference could be spotted in the minute glyphs etched on the enclosing walls. These symbols were as random and unintelligible as any circular or linear design on an exotic animal hide. There was no sense in trying to read them, even if they were left as instructions or warnings. The windows all seemed to point to (perhaps fawn over) a shimmering gem set in the centre, what was surely--I knew in dreams!--a minor aleph in the Borgesian sense, a piece of glass that contained the sun, the stars, basically an exact model of the universe, perceived as an assemblage of views or a small haystack of splintered memories, but I was no longer peering through (at?) a window at all ... I was standing over a small, nondescript table, atop which was placed a flat fish bowl with rounded edges. Two submerged eyes swam about inside, lively as leashed fish or insidious balls-and-chains. Remarkably, these sentient orbs were unusually independent, they lacked the presence of a master brain fixed behind them. Instead, the thin membranes were loosely connected to a flat leech-like disc pressed to the rear of the glass, what might have looked like a scummy wall outlet. This mass was disturbingly oval and textured like ground meat, not grayish as would be expected, but verdigris. I realized very suddenly that, in order to employ the staggering visual effects of the aleph, I would have to devour those slippery, darting eyes; those same eyes which occasionally came together in unison, in cooperation, to stare at me with strange intensity. Frankly, it was a win-win situation!

At times, Livejournal feels like the misbegotten offspring of a likewise building. I figured that, since I haven't posted publically in a while, I'd assemble a few comments that feature minor stories or minor characters and thread them into a body that resembles content. I want this journal to be convenient. I feel I must apologize about my comments. They are so packed with bombast, so final--seemingly dying for attention, but denying any two-way--that people who respond to them are, on the regular, numbed into carving out arrowhead compliments, they're bewildered, they scratch their scalps for flakes of ideas. I can't explain how much this bothers me, but I can offer an explanatory image. It's like arriving at an abandoned lot full of street urchins, ahem, mischievous rascals such as yourself. Their games lack toys, they're poor, see, so they make use of sticks and stones and their scenarios are purely imaginary. You want to join in on their game of cowboys and Indians, but, once you proclaim a word of creativity, an action, such as shooting a feather off a Native's head, they announce that your one shot, that zigg-zagging bullet, has run a murderous course and killed ALL the Indians, you are the winner, and wouldn't you know it, this makes you an American hero. They all run home to their mothers and you, my dear orphan, are left behind, impotent, looking dumbly at your makeshift gun, nothing more than a pencil, no handle or trigger to speak of... Surely, you've read the Kipling anecdote about the two hunters. Two prehistoric hunters return to their cave with a sizeable carcass trophy, a triumph, a delight for their starving clan; however, once the meal has been savored and absorbed, and the opportunity presents itself to tell the tale of the kill, the master hunter cannot find the words to express neither the thrill nor the quality of his actions. It falls on his partner, who might have merely played a distraction, the dramatic bait, to best describe the hero's techniques, his heroics, how he pounced upon and captured the beast. The tribe was so marvelled by the exactness of the account that their wonder immediately turned to fear, and they suspected that he was some sort of demon, a proteus, a maker/warper of reality. This is prehistory, the fear of the present moment! Of course, they had to kill the tattle-tale in order to prevent his spinning veritable stories about anyone else, to keep him from affecting or making drastic changes in reality.

Stand aside, some heavy name-dropping ...Collapse )

Finally, hotlavamonster: There was something about this poem, which I'm about to share with you, that I really liked. I forgot who it was that said writers should be original, but if they must steal, then steal from the best. Perhaps you've read the story by Borges called The Immortal, it's one of his best. There's a paragraph or two where he attempts to describe the City of Immortals, but more so he expresses the anxiety of trying to describe it. These are the words of a daunted man:

The City is so horrible that its mere existence and perdurance, though in the midst of a secret desert, contaminates the past and the future and in some way even jeopardizes the stars. As long as it lasts, no one in the world can be strong or happy.


The following poem predates the story by more than twenty years.

La Blanca SoledadCollapse )

Bleached SolitudeCollapse )

Dec. 20th, 2005

ashcan

it'll work out one way or another (after all, it's Christmas)

Partly having to do with saberxo's adventures in South America this year, I've discovered that I can't stand to drink Coca-Cola unless it's sufficiently watered down in a fountain drink or bottled in Mexico. Bottles from below the border might have a battered, recycled quality to the outer glass, giving it a somewhat tampered look, but the content within is less thick and abrasive, more subtle in sweetness than its American counterpart. In the age of useful energy drinks, when people have fallen to the worship of coffee, I seem to have grown an affinity for impoverished fluids, and this is nothing short of revolutionary. I have come to prefer a drink that isn't motivated or expected to perform a service, one that isn't obliged to release nutrients or provide pep. I don't mind the scarcity of most common and pleasing aspects in a regular drink, such as sweetener or caffeine; I will even enjoy a drink that lacks the commodity of basic refreshment. Lukewarm pop need no longer despair!

A year or so ago, Ryan travelled Chile on one of his larks and brought me back a souvenir from the house of Pablo Neruda, which I assume to have been La Sebastiana. The poster is a modest line drawing of a bird in the process of unfurling itself and underneath there is a quote that reads: Mi deber es vivir, morir, vivir ... (My duty, to live, to die, to live ...). I forgot the exact amount of posters he brought back to the States (a few, I think), but for the sake of my bedroom decor, I'm grateful for figuring into the destiny of at least one, because that single poster inspired me to correct what used to be a shameful flaw of mine, that of possessing barren walls, all of them plain and white. Except for all the books overcrowding the shelves or scattered over the floor, people who used to walk into my room, prior to the appearance of this poster, couldn't tell a thing about me from looking at my living space. I had no posters, portraits, paintings, postcards, flags, idols, or paraphernalia of any kind. My bedroom chamber was so bereft of my personality, that, at any moment, I could have possibly become a guest. A few large mirrors adorn the room, and they are arranged in the careful style of Poe, so that no mirror can startle you with a reflection of your self when you're comfortably sitting down.

On second thought, the poster was simply a colorful phoenix that accentuated a line from a poem, and since all good poems are found in books (the same books already littering my room), then putting it up was an act of redundancy meant only to take up space -- but it was also a beginning. Since then I've strewn the walls with articles that each vary in relevance. On the closet door, I placed the graphics of two signature cheeseburgers, side by side, from two competing fast food chains. One is an ad from a magazine and the other is an authentic shot stolen from the actual display menu. These images are not meant to be appetizing in the least, although the airbrushing on the Wendy's one gives it the alluring illusion of plump juiciness -- they are meant to clue visitors in on a particular food that was a favorite of mine, years ago, specifically 1999-2001, when I was more concerned with the weight of the food in the bag ($ per lbs. of meat), than health, taste, or consequence per se. Burgers are definitely not my favorite now, but a bedroom can only be characteristic of someone in the past, never someone in the present moment, which is the only state that interests me.

Returning to Ryan's apartment in Westwood, I remember that he was directing me towards the whereabouts of my gift, telling me to fetch it amongst his unpacked belongings, when I made the mistake of picking up the wrong poster. It was this error in judgment that effectively soured the reception of my gift proper. Attached to that mishap was an even more thorough feeling of embarassment, because in my vague goings-on, I might have thoughtlessly assumed that the posters were ALL mine; I believed myself to be the new owner of a SET of artifacts from South America. On the heels of such a bold misunderstanding, Ryan snatched the poster out of my hand and quickly pointed out which was which. His had a different design and motto, neither of which I dare mention, but I maintain its superiority over mine, since it was the first one I touched. Perhaps, he felt that the quote on my poster (My duty, to live, to die, to live ...) was more suited to my lifestyle or beliefs, and that's not a very bad guess, but I have to admit that lately I've been shirking this duty of dying, an occupation that I acquired around the age of fourteen.

I dislike the awkwardness that I feel when I'm being presented with a gift. This sensation is more than the normal discomfort of being thrown into a happy moment. I've deduced that it has nothing to do with physical revulsion; it is an assault on the intellect. I say that, during this transaction, there is a brief loss of self, a dip, followed by an uncomfortable gain. The process of receiving a gift causes someone's present being, their very existence, to swell up in size, large enough so that the walls will chafe it for an instant. The gift then proceeds to imbue the palms of the recipient with a feeling of excessive emptiness, which is only a feeling, bearing the gift in mind. The recipient is thus encouraged to fill this sudden vacancy with symbolic expressions of gratitude towards the giver, but none of this is truly deserved, because the giver has unconsciously committed an imposition against the psyche of the recipient.

psycho babble?Collapse )

Oct. 19th, 2005

ashcan

meme

LJ Interests meme results



  1. caseation:
    If I'm not mistaken, this is the process by which a thing is converted into cheese. When I first read it, I thought of the cheese one relates to flesh, the sagging, the wrinkly dimples and creases, basically the wasteland left behind when one loses a lot of weight, regains it, and loses it again. Words like CONGEAL and COAGULATION also come to mind. When you write anything of value, you must follow the advice set down by Horace and let it sit for a few days, maybe weeks, in order to allow this process of caseation. As you return, you will notice bits and pieces that have frothed and solidified into disposable crusts.
  2. fast-talkers:
    I remember that I hyphenated this interest when, all of a sudden, ten people had adopted it. I actually prefer it this way because it lends the phrase an appropriate thrust of brevity. Waiting is for suckers. It's true. Everyone should communicate clearly and concisely and in seconds time! Wit thrives in a speedy environment, which is why great statements are curt, timeless. Interruptions are not rude if the subject matter demands it, if the bore is begging for it. Most people talk about worthless daily bullshit and are so used to it that anything else would provoke mental flight. I tend to talk fast because I have a lot to say, and it is important, and I realize that most attention spans are atrophied.
  3. gossip conduits:
    See the works of Homer. Oral tradition. Word of mouth. Stories shaped by time using the chisel of person to person. A Naval captain turns into a pirate, a playwright divides into many men, an opportunist claims the title of hero. Why blast a detail? An era forgets a particular but adds its timely alterations; much survives. My interest in the conduit lies in the form by which it warps a reflection.
  4. james brown:
    Look at MEE ... know whatcha SEE ...??
  5. lightly squeezing pincushions:
    My mom has a pincushion that is older than I am. It is made to look like a slice of watermelon. She has all different kinds of pins sticking out of it, colourful heads, thick and thin loops. When I was a kid, I liked playing with it. I had a morbid fascination which had me holding it with both hands and squeezing it until I could feel the needle-points piercing the bottom of the plush rind and pricking my palms and fingertips. Sometimes I bled and I had to be careful not to let my mother discover this act of masochism in the form of little red dots.
  6. momaflage:
    There is much I have to conceal from my mother, who is irascible by nature. Her diabetes makes her more unpleasant. The more excited she becomes, the more she succumbs to "attacks" of the disease. It is a concerted effort keeping my habits and vices from poisoning her health any further. I must be an absolute angel. She has her suspicions but I make sure there are doubts and lack of proof.
  7. pick-up basketball:
    I have skillz enough to play in the shadiest areas. I'm sneaky with it. I feel more comfortable as a component in team play and reading multiple interactions than in one-on-one situations, where I have to indulge some asshole, but I'll still talk a lot of shit. I'll fuck with your confidence. Some games erupt in fights when I'm around, even though I really love the game. Perhaps I like fighting more. Me and my friend Pedro used to hustle people for money two-on-two back in high school because we were both broke and had nothing better to do than practice at local parks. Pedro never lost one-on-one (save a fluke three times) because he had this unstoppable long range shot. He humbled many but never made varsity due to a lack of dedication. I did though.
  8. shirtless al green:
    Refer to the glorious mini-poster in the CD jacket of Al Green's Greatest Hits.
  9. the roots:
    A jazz-infused, "organic" rap band that plays their own instruments. Black Thought's timing and delivery is impeccable. He is easily one of my favourite living MC's. I am yet to see them live, but from what I've heard, they don't degenerate into the cacophony of shouts that constitute most hip-hop shows. They are the medicine for people who can't stand rap because of the stuff perpetrated by the likes of Master P and Lil' Jon.
  10. william blake:
    My concurrent opinions of William Blake can be found in the_criterion.


Enter your LJ user name, and 10 interests will be selected from your interest list.



Jul. 19th, 2005

ashcan

Vesuvius at home

I can hardly keep still. I don't really sit down. I have this inconsiderate habit -- when signing on to AOL -- of immediately leaving the computer to go perform some other activity, like making a sandwhich, watering the lawn, ironing an outfit -- the one I'm going to wear -- or taking a particularly lengthy shit, so I can return at my leisure several minutes later to the many delightful surprises of e-mails and blinking AIMs. It's wondrous! People care, they really do! It's like walking into a room at the ring of a piercing bell, announcing yourself with aplomb and turning invisible! They're befuddled, what's this, they ask, Are you really there?? You're not responding. How irregular, just now. Are you not well? You're unsettled. Of course, that's what it is! It's my molecules, I'm losing consistency, I'm dissolving! Weep for me, internets, I'm broken apart! You'll say I'm crafty, you won't admit it, what matter of trickery. Look, I'm preparing a "sammich" and my girlfriend's nagging at me, she wants to correct me, she says it's revolting that I don't cook my ham beforehand, and why must I subsist on the basest slices and eat it RAW to top it off?? It's immoral! Barbarous! I'm making her look bad. She has to hide her face in public! I retort, it's just something to tide me over, a snack, this is just for now, baby, just like you! I don't make it a point to lavish quality on my pettiest desires BESIDES. I'm not picky, any old thing will do! With that, I leap over the breakfast nook. She manages to grabs my ankle before I make it across, in mid-air, and I eat it on the other side. She finally catches me -- I don't struggle -- she slaps the shit out of me. It's painful, it's cute! She really knows how to give it, her flat palm stings like a whip, a tough girl, not strong, she has brothers that are somewhat belligerent, they showed her a thing or two! There's laundry to be done and ironing, too. She laughs at me when I tell her to get busy. She's insolent! I entreat her with arguments about tradition, the loss of our culture! Where's my Catholic wedding with the bells heard for miles around?? That's a good question, sooo, I take to pondering, as I'm pressing my clothes, giving them a long lazy, marginal press, when I notice the grim acquisition of new and indellible stains. Black, gummy, greasy! This late in the process, I can only bring myself to shrug about it. I dab a little water on them and press the stains along with the rest of the soiled fabric. My poor warddrobe, what drastic perdition! I'm a messy camper! I'm not supposed to show where I've been, cause I've been places, nasty ones. My washer's on the fritz, maybe? Waiit, it's an undershirt! The collar's presentable, that's all that really matters in the end. Avert your eyes! On the toilet, I'm squeezing out monstrocities! No mere logs, whole cabins! Unflushable housing! The toilet water won't pierce the edifice, the waves sink right through, all is vanity! This is something of an exaggeration. I picked it up in jail, where I actually smelled such horrors in a badly ventilated room. I'm tasteless, I need to drink more water, my viscera is doubtless dry, rotten, my piss is dark and fuming! I refuse singularity, I want these things to be a generational condition, so the old critics can berate us all for a certain apathy that perforce includes the loss of hygiene. That's your hang-up, people! Common decency! You too? Admit it! We don't take the right fluids. Juice is ineffectual. Soda doesn't taste the same anymore. It makes me phlegmy. It's the years of smoking pot and continuously hacking up a new species of slimy intelligence, strange cultures. I have a growth in the throat, a corrosion, perpetual gunk, rust in the pipe system!

Livejournal, my account is expired. I received two notices on the matter. I think I realize what's at stake. It's hard times! Trying, desperate situations! My interests are rapidly becoming frivolous. They're losing their novelty. It used to be that some would get adopted, they'd link up to perfect strangers who'd fancy something of mine, a similar dork. Now, they're regressing into plain text! As I understand it, having distinct interests is now passé, so I'm changing lenny on the tile to lenny bruce. Find me now! I'm far gone. The only reasonable solution: slapping my bare ass! public displays! slapping innocents! fingerpainting with filth! zero regard! I have to assert my presence somehow! Believe it or not, there are times I have nothing to say, when I'm stuck repeating the same words into already tired and pre-prepared symmetries. Mirrored mise-en-abimes, same songs! Peep this, how I plan to revamp: I'll stop slicing the fat that spills out the sides of belt and involve the whole gross body, hair, odors and all. I'll kick my absurd knack for hurling aside stepping stones. I'll learn to speak in a quick Portuguese, no, a rough translation. I'll gallivant around like an unsuspecting queen down a rape trail. I'll court the sly thug in the greenery, wringing his hands, fiending for that mmmmm soft pink entry. I'll unearth my protean roots with a rip and a crack!

I'm still tormented by giant moths, armies of ants, and, worse of all, Mara the Tempter. I purposely write offensive and truthful confessions that betray the innocence of my face, which is the most whimsical deceiver of all, hard to control, impossible to capture. Where most others first originate a feeling, which then proceeds to register on their face, I'm backwards, I get cues, suggestions, now commands from my insolent face! I feel with my face like it's a direct extension of my imagination. Sparked and entranced by any passing object! People inspire the most capricious involutions. Oh, meeting people! Nonsense erupts. Understanding ensues. I absorb and redact, I give nothing back, or I give all I can, never enough! I love them fiercely, temporarily, but I am nothing, what is everything at once. You want to trap me in place! Pidgeonhole me! It's preposterous. There are times I want to skip ahead and simply make out with someone without having to intone the requisite lines of poetry. No knowing dialogue! A little less conversation! Set aside the charm and histrionics! I have this perverse fetish for leaning into that first sweeping step which leads to a quarter inch of closeness. It's the singular rush of proximity, like the trails of shooting comets, their tails co-mingling, no meaning attached, because the eventual kiss is only a byproduct that pierces you with a slow poison, the corrosive act that will infect the memory. You can keep it! Before such an exquisite moment in time, before that stark portion of the day, we were nothing but absolute strangers! Your wretched cosmetics and your wrapped up bits be damned!

Single kiss in a far-gone past -- a treacherous breach of mind and body.

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